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Talking points from European football action

laliga real madrid v sevilla
Luka Modric came off the bench to net a stunning strike to secure Real a 1-0 home win over Sevilla

Talking points from the weekend in European football leagues:

SPAIN

AGELESS MODRIC SALVAGES A WIN FOR REAL MADRID

Luka Modric’s future at Real Madrid is one of the hottest debates in Spanish soccer as the 38-year-old has lost his starting spot in Carlo Ancelotti’s team but on Sunday the Croatian showed again he can be a valuable asset off the bench.

He scored with a stunning strike from the edge of the box a few minutes after coming on late in the second half to earn a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sevilla, helping Real extend their lead atop LaLiga to eight points over second-placed Barcelona.

Modric’s contract is due to expire at the end of the season and Ancelotti did not deny reports suggesting he had offered the Croatia and club great the assistant manager’s position so he can continue in the Madrid after 12 successful years as player.

“It is the most difficult thing to leave (Modric) on the bench,” Ancelotti told a press conference on Sunday. “He trains every day… he is an example… (Modric’s future) is in his hands, we have to wait for his decision.”

ITALY

INTER TROPHY QUEST NEEDS MARTINEZ TO KEEP FIRING

Leaders Inter Milan claimed what seemed an almost effortless 4-0 win at 14th-placed Lecce on Sunday to remain nine points clear at the top of the Serie A standings.

They could extend their lead over record 36-times champions Juventus, and their 13-point advantage against third-placed AC Milan, when they host fifth-placed Atalanta in their game in hand from matchday 21 on Wednesday.

But injuries are mounting up with Marcus Thuram, Juan Cuadrado and Francesco Acerbi sidelined and tough games against fourth-placed Bologna and Napoli next month plus their Champions League last-16 return at Atletico Madrid who they lead 1-0.

Simone Inzaghi’s side have the quality to maintain their impressive run but they will need Serie A top scorer Lautaro Martinez, who netted twice on Sunday, to stay amongst the goals in Thuram’s absence to keep their trophy hunt firmly on track.

FRANCE

HIGH-FLYING BREST STAY GROUNDED

Brest’s magnificent form this season continued with an emphatic 3-0 win over Patrick Viera’s struggling Strasbourg on Saturday to equal their best unbeaten league run of 12 matches.

Without suspended striker Steve Mouni, midfielder Mahdi Camara stepped up with a hat-trick to secure the win that kept Les Pirates in second place with 43 points, a record-breaking tally for the club at this stage of the season.

Brest, who returned to the top flight in 2019, are edging towards a maiden European qualifying berth while aiming for their best ever league finish after eighth place in 1986-87.

For coach Eric Roy, however, there is no point in getting their hopes up just yet.

“I hope the lads will be able to repeat these kinds of performances. The group is doing well. There is no point in projection, in imagining things,” he told Canal+.

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